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2 4 2001 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

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CARLI: Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois 





Compiled and Written 

by Federal Writers 7 Project of Illinois, 

Works Progress Administration 


Western Illinois 
State c o n - 

Macomb, Illinois" 

Sponsored By The 
Unity Club of Nauvoo 



Harry L. Hopkins, Administrator 

Ellen S. Woodward, Assistant Administrator 

Henry G. Alsberg, Director of the Federal Writers' Project 

copyright 1939 

by unity club of nauvoo 

Price Fifty Cents 

ftte-katotu Mote 

Nauvoo is one of the most important places associated with the history 
of the middle west, and indeed of America. In its own right, present-day 
Nauvoo is exceptionally interesting and picturesque. Rich in history and 
relics, it is well suited to an individual volume in the American Guide 
Series. This book is offered as a contribution to a better understanding 
of the Nauvoo of the past and a greater appreciation of the Nauvoo of 
the present and future. 

Few chapters in American history have been so frequently miswritten 
and misread as those containing the dramatic incidents of early years at 
Nauvoo. Any writer who attempts to deal with this history encounters 
the gravest difficulties in reconciling contradictory reports of important 
events. Obviously, it is the duty of a Federal agency, in presenting a book 
about Nauvoo, to seek a wholly objective treatment of all matters of con- 
troversy — a treatment equally free from prejudice and from partisanship. 
We have made a most sincere effort in this book to achieve both accuracy 
and fairness. Aware that it is impossible for us to please fully all those of 
diverging views, we crave only understanding of our purpose, and a 
tolerant recognition of our problem. 

I wish to extend my personal appreciation, for their cooperation in the 
production of this work, to James Phelan, author of the text, and to John 
Stenvall of the Federal Art Project of Illinois, who made the illustrations. 
All of the photographs except two are reproduced with the permission of 
the Chicago Daily News, and are by Clyde Brown, chief photographer for 
that paper. The painting of the Brigham Young House, reproduced on the 
cover, is the work of Lane K. Newberry, well-known painter of historical 
Illinois scenes, and is used with his special permission. Most of all, thanks 
are due the people of Nauvoo, who have made the publication possible. 

— John T. Frederick, 
Regional Director, 
Federal Writers' Project. 

u 6 6 



Prefatory Note 5 

City of the Prophet 9 

"We Will Build Up a City" 15 

"As Soon As Grass Grows" 31 

Utopia Comes to Nauvoo 36 

On the Hill and In the Flat — A Tourist's 

Guide to Points of Interest 41 


Cover Design: Brigham Young House, from 
Painting by Lane K. Newberry. 

(?itu oj\ the ftlopltQt 

The tourist bound south along the Mississippi River on State 96 might 
easily speed past the business district of Nauvoo, sweep around the sharp 
curve at St. Edmund Hall, drop down the hill and out of town with scarcely 
a thought to what he had just passed. Nauvoo, at a casual glance, appears 
indistinguishable from countless other Illinois farming towns of a thousand 
population. The hurrying driver might catalogue Nauvoo as another such 
pea-in-the-pod, and remember it — if at all — because of its unusual name. 
But Nauvoo reveals, upon closer examination, an oddity in structure, the 
relic of sudden boom and swift decline almost a century ago. 

Here, in the 1840's, when Chicago was a stripling village of less than 
5,000, and Springfield, the new State capital, a muddy little town recently 
planted on the prairie, stood the largest city in Illinois, a community of 
more than 20,000. Center of the rapidly increasing sect of Mormonism, 
Nauvoo possessed thousands of dwellings, and a great Temple into the 
construction of which had been poured a million dollars. Authors and 
journalists came here from the East to describe the swiftly blooming 
metropolis and interview Joseph Smith, Prophet and temporal leader of 
the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Politicians courted the 
favor of the Saints, who for several years held the political balance of 
power in Illinois. Then internal dissension touched off a fuse that sputtered 
briefly within the ranks of the faithful, shortly ignited the hatred of sur- 
rounding non-Mormons, exploded in the fury of the Mormon Wars, and 
snuffed Nauvoo overnight. And between the appearance of the Saints at 
this place, and their hurried exodus, only seven years elapsed. 



The framework of Nauvoo today is obviously that of a much larger 
and older community. Built up solid, it could house a community the 
size of Alton or Elgin. Within its limits are many small farms and vine- 
yards, as though a dam that once barred country fields from the town 
had given way and let the fields come spilling over./ Save for a short 
stretch of business houses on Mulholland Street, the town blocks are but 
loosely knit. Houses stand as corner posts, but between them and behind 
them run the neat geometry of vineyards and the lush disarray of vege- 
table gardens. Many of the Mormon houses are still standing and are 
occupied, but throughout the village are scattered empty foundation pits, 
with elms and maples leaning over, and here and there the bones of a 
house, shrubs growing out of its long-collapsed roof, and vines hiding its 
mellowed walls. Into many a hillock of Nauvoo's rolling terrain are tucked 
the wine-cellars built by the Icarians who followed the Mormons, and by 
the Germans who followed the Icarians. These no longer serve the pur- 
pose for which they were built — although wine is still made in Nauvoo — 
and now stand empty and crumbling, or serve as makeshift refrigerators 
for a family's vegetables. 

Nauvoo stands on two levels, referred to locally as the Hill and the Flat. X 
More than sixty years ago the business district was moved out of the Flat, 
where Joseph Smith had begun it, and up the Hill to its present location. 
On the Flat stood the most impressive houses of the Mormons, and thus 
they were left untouched by what little growth Nauvoo has seen in the 
past six decades. Around the town site, in a great crescent, sweeps the 


icago Daily Ne\ 

-By Clyde Brown. 


Mississippi River, here wider than elsewhere because of the downstream 
Keokuk Dam. From the Hill, Nauvoo commands a pleasing view of the 
lowlands that once swarmed with the Saints, and beyond that broad belt 
of wooded ground, the curving line of the river and the Iowa bluffs. 
Southward the Hill merges into bluffs that line the river and enhance 
the beauty of a charming twelve mile scenic drive to Hamilton, Illinois. 

The Flat best tells the tragic and violent story of Nauvoo's decline. 
Were it not for the obvious age of the houses here, this part of Nauvoo 
might be a real-estate subdivision that was laid out pretentiously in 1928 
and collapsed in 1930. The streets are checkerboard in pattern, but many 
of them can be traced only with difficulty; in some instances their limits 
are marked by the fences of bordering farms, and no traffic disturbs the 
grass growing there. Seventh (or Main) Street, once the principal busi- 
ness street, has less than a dozen houses on it, and no commercial buildings. 
In the 1840's a traveler in Nauvoo found Parley Street a marvelous sight, 
and wrote that it was built up solidly for several miles back from the river. 
Now but a handful of houses line it; whole blocks have no buildings, and 
save for the few crumbled stones marking the site of the Seventies Hall, 
even the ruins of that one-time prosperity have been effaced. 

Today only some sixty members of the Reorganized Church of Jesus 
Christ of Latter-day Saints live in Nauvoo. To them goes the credit for 
preserving the important relics of Joseph Smith's Nauvoo. The Joseph 



Chicago Daily Ntmi Pholo — By Clyde J 


Smith Homestead, the Mansion House — second home of the Prophet — the 
Nauvoo House, which was under construction as a great hotel when Smith 
was murdered, and numerous other historic dwellings are owned and 
maintained by the Reorganized Church. The church also has a guide 
service to the town, and has done considerable research in determining 
the original owners of the old Mormon homes and in locating the sites of 
important buildings that have been destroyed. 

This branch differs from the larger group of Mormons at Utah in several 
important tenets of dogma. The separation was based upon the question 
of authority, the Utah Church maintaining that at the death of Joseph 
Smith the Twelve Apostles became the presiding Quorum. Both branches 
accept Joseph Smith as Prophet, and the Book of Mormon as an addendum 
to the Bible. However, the Reorganized Church vehemently denies that 
Smith ever practiced or countenanced polygamy, and claims that the doc- 
trine of plural wives was "revealed" by Brigham Young after the death of 
Joseph Smith. Their editions of Doctrine and Covenants, the book of 
divine revelations, contain none of the revelations received by Brigham 
Young and other Utah church dignitaries. Many visitors to Nauvoo are 
members of the Utah branch, and spirited arguments on the historical 
question of polygamy frequently pepper the quiet of the old homestead. 

In increasing numbers both "Reorganites" and Utah Mormons make 
the pilgrimage to Nauvoo and the nearby Carthage jail, where Joseph 
Smith and his brother, Hyrum, were murdered by a mob. Gradually the 
conception of Nauvoo as a latter-day Mecca is shaping; this conception, 


with the martyrdom of Joseph Smith and the hegira to Utah, has given 
the Mormons three of the fixtures found in many long-established reli- 
gions. Both the Utah and the Reorganized branches have acquired por- 
tions of the Temple lot in Nauvoo ; the Utah Mormons expect some day to 
build there a copy of the Temple. Nauvoo as Mecca is booming. 

In its non-religious aspects, Nauvoo is a quiet, stable little town almost 
wholly dependent upon agriculture and horticulture. A recently estab- 
lished aeronautical school strikes an anachronistic note; there are two 
Catholic boarding schools, a cheese factory, and a winery, but most of 
Nauvoo's citizens look to the soil for their livelihood. Unusual for such 
a diminutive town is Nauvoo's abundant supply of electric power, which 
it taps from the great power dam twelve miles downstream at Keokuk, Iowa. 

It is a queer twist in the town's development that the Iearians, who 
added but little to the Nauvoo of their day, left the town its most import- 
ant economic heritage. Grape-raising, instituted by these French commun- 
ists, remains the most important source of income. Many thousands of 
gallons of wine and grape juice are pressed annually; the remainder of 
the crop — as much as 150 carloads a year — is shipped out. Most of this 
leaves Nauvoo by truck or ferry, since Nauvoo is one of the two Illinois 
cities of more than 500 population that lack a railroad. It possesses, how- 
ever, good connection by ferry with the railroad at Montrose, Iowa, di- 
rectly across the river. 

Moore's Early and Concord are the chief varieties of grapes raised. Few 
outside laborers are imported; during the picking season almost the entire 
town turns to and strips the vines. The money thus obtained provides for 
most of the residents' wants that cannot be supplied by the ubiquitous 
little three and four acre farms. 


Because the narrative of their town's growth is such a colorful episode, 
Nauvoo's citizens have a historical awareness unusual among Illinoisans. 
Friendly and inclined toward a leisurely pattern of life, they willingly 
point out landmarks, and discuss such local moot questions as the exact 
site of the Temple cornerstone. Increasingly the town is becoming accus- 
tomed to the writers, reporters, and artists who periodically descend upon 
Nauvoo to poke around the old houses, examine the curios at the Oriental 
Hotel, and sketch the scenes of one-time Mormon activity. The influx, 
especially of artists, is greatest in the summer, for then Nauvoo blossoms 
into a riot of color. Hollyhocks grow beside the crumbling foundations; 
phlox, cannas, and larkspur crowd each other in the corners of vegetable 
gardens; and unexpectedly one comes upon the shell of a house spilling 
a great crown of trumpet flowers. 

Recently Mrs. Verna 0. Nelson gave to the State several large tracts of 
land on the Flat, and there is a move on foot to convert the entire Flat 
into a State Park, so that it may be preserved for the future, much as New 
Salem of Lincoln's day has been preserved. Whether or not the plans are 
consummated, Nauvoo is in little danger of extinction. Its importance to 
both branches of the church, and its citizens' knowledge of their heritage, 
assure the zealous guarding of Nauvoo's landmarks. 


»u/ e u/ui Hutu Up a &tf 

/ When the Mormons were harried out of Missouri in the winter of 
1838-39, they crossed the Mississippi to Quincy, Illinois, and there re- 
ceived an unexpected welcome. A committee of Quincy citizens passed a 
resolution condemning the Governor of Missouri and urging that residents 
of Quincy "be particularly careful not to indulge in any conversation or 
expressions calculated to wound (the Mormon's) feelings, or in any way 
to reflect upon those who, by every law of humanity, are entitled to our 

^ sympathy and commiseration." 

The previous lot of the Mormons, as told by church historians, had 
been one of persecution rather than cordial reception. Joseph Smith had 
published the Book of Mormon and founded the Church of Jesus Christ 
of Latter-day Saints nine years before, in New York. Born in 1805, of 
poor and unlettered parents, he had received, at the age of 14, a vision 
wherein an angel had warned him against joining any of the existing reli- 
gious denominations, and had revealed to him that the Lord was soon to 
restore the Gospel. In 1827, on the Hill of Cumorah, near Palmyra, New 
York, he dug up plates of gold on which were inscribed strange characters. 
Church history further relates that young Smith was provided with a pair 
of spectacles, the Urim and Thummim, by means of which he was able to 
translate the story inscribed on the plates. Dictating for months to Martin 
Harris, Oliver Cowdery, and others, he completed the lengthy Book of 
Mormon in 1829 and published it in 1830. Joseph Smith's synopsis of 


the book, which is accepted by the Mormons as an addendum to the Bible, 
was as follows: 

"The history of America is unfolded from its first settlement 
by a colony that came from the Tower of Babel at the confusion 
of languages, to the beginning of the Christian era. We are in- 
formed by these records that America in ancient times has been 
inhabited by two distinct races of people. The first were called 
Jaredites, and came directly from the Tower of Babel. The sec- 
ond race came directly from the city of Jerusalem about 600 
years before Christ. They were principally Israelites of the 
descendants of Joseph. The Jaredites were destroyed about the 
time the Israelites came from Jerusalem, who succeeded them in 
the inhabitance of the country. The principal nation of the 
second race fell in battle toward the close of the fourth century. 
The remnants are the Indians that now inhabit the country." 
Interwoven with the historical were theological passages. The reassembling 
of the tribes of Israel, the rebuilding of Zion on this earth, the second 
coming of Christ, and His reign upon earth were predicted. 

The first church was established at F_avejte, New York, on April 6, 1830, 
but it was not until headquarters were moved to Kirtland, Ohio, the fol- 
lowing year, that appreciable gains were made in membership. In the 
same year, 1831, a branch colony was established at Jackson County, 
Missouri. Here began the long series of clashes with the Gentiles, as non- 
Mormons were called, that embittered the Mormons against Missouri for 
many years. Driven from Jackson County by a mob, in 1833, they settled 
in adjoining Clay County, only to have similar mob action effect their 
removal three years later. Going to Caldwell County, Missouri, they 
founded the towns of Adam-ondi-Ahman and Far West, where they were 
joined by Smith and the remainder of the Kirtland Mormons in 1838. 

Religious antagonism and fear of the political power of, the Saints, who 
usually voted as a bloc, resulted in increasingly violent conflicts. Sporadic 
battles between armed forces culminated in the slaughter at Hawn's Mill, 
October 30, 1838, where a large number of Mormons were trapped in a 
blacksmith shop and murdered. At about the same time Governor Lilburn 
Boggs issued an order to the militia, proclaiming that "the Mormons 
must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the 
State." Joseph Smith, his brother Hyrum, Sidney Rigdon, and several 
other leaders were taken as hostages, and the rest of the Mormons were 


hurriedly bundled out of the State, with little or no opportunity to pack 
their belongings or dispose of their property. The Smiths were held from 
November until April, 1839, under indictments ranging from murder and 
treason to arson and burglary. Early in April they obtained a change of 
venue to Boone County. On April 15, while en route to that place for 
trial, they escaped and fled to Quincy. 

Such was the prologue to the Mormons' stay in Illinois. One last inci- 
dent testified eloquently to the faith of these men in their newly arisen 
Prophet. Joseph Smith had announced, in April 1838, a revelation from 
the Lord commanding the erection of a temple at Far West. The Lord 
had admonished the Saints that "in one year from this day let them re- 
commence laying the foundation of my house." Secretly a group of the 
Apostles, under the leadership of Brigham Young, traveled from Quincy 
to Far West and on the night of April 26, 1839, met at the site of the 
Temple. Capture by the Missourians would have meant certain imprison- 
ment, but there in the dark they rolled a huge stone into place, first softly 
intoning a hymn. Then they returned to Quincy, where Joseph Smith 
was laying plans for a new Zion of the frontier. 

The futility of their nine-year effort to find a permanent home had de- 
pressed some of the Saints, but the return of Smith and the friendliness ofv. 
Quincy citizens restored their optimism. Negotiations were— entered r rrtcT 
with Dr. Isaac Galland, a landholder in Iowa and Illinois, and on May 1 
a church committee purchased two large farms from him for $14,000 in 
the vicinity of Commerce, some fifty miles north of Quincy. Liberal terms 
of credit were arranged, and shortly other purchases were made. 


Commerce, formerly a large Indian village named Quashquema, had 
been settled early in the 1820's as an Indian trading post. Joseph Smith's 
description of the site has been preserved. "The place," he wrote, "was 
literally a wilderness. The land was mostly covered with trees and bushes, 
and much of it was so wet that it was with the utmost difficulty that a 
footman could get through, and totally impossible for teams. Commerce 
was so unhealthy very few could live there, but believing that it might 
become a healthy place by the blessing of heaven to the Saints, and no 
more eligible place presenting itself, I considered it wisdom to make an 
attempt to build up a city." 

Commerce was a discouraging nucleus for this task. It possessed not 
more than six or seven buildings — a storehouse, two blockhouses, and a 
few dwellings — all of the crudest construction. Joseph Smith moved into 
a tiny log cabin on the river-front, and he and the Saints fell to the task 
of building up their city. Shortly the Prophet renamed the town Nauvoo, 
^ which he claimed meant "beautiful place" in Hebrew. Scholars of that 
language find no basis for the attribution. 

Considering the difficulties encountered, the work progressed with 
astounding rapidity. Many of the Saints were stricken with malaria dur- 
ing the first few months before the land was drained. Both Brigham 
Young and Wilford Woodruff have testified that Joseph Smith miracu- 
lously healed many of the sick. "Joseph commenced in his own house 
and dooryard," wrote Brigham Young, "commanding the sick, in the 
name of Jesus Christ, to arise and be made whole, and they were healed 
according to his word. He then continued to travel from house to house, 
healing the sick ..." In January 1841, the newly established Mormon 
paper, the Times and Seasons, reported a population of 3,000 in Nauvoo. 
At that time, Galena, the most important industrial city in Illinois, had 
but 2,250 persons, although that lead-mining center was in the up-swing 
of a twenty-year boom. 

jSlhe treatment the Mormons had received at the hands of Missouri's 
officialdom led them to attempt to insure against a similar occurrence 
here. The method they took has generally been condemned by historians 
as unwise. At the time of the Mormons' arrival in Illinois, the Whigs and 
the Democrats were engaged in a struggle for political supremacy, and 
both parties were willing to grant liberal legislative favors to obtain the 
Saints' support. |In 1840, the General Assembly awarded Nauvoo a city 
charter, an extraordinary document that had little precedent for the liberal 


terms it set forth. Nauvoo was made virtually an autonomous state, em- 
powered to pass any laws not in direct conflict with the State and Federal 
Constitutions. Its Municipal Court was given the power to issue writs of 
habeas corpus in cases involving local ordinances. It was the exercising 
of this authority that subsequently did much to aggravate anti-Mormon 
sentiment. The city was also permitted to set up its own militia, the 
Nauvoo Legion, which, although subject to the Governor's call, was given 
the unusual power of governing itself by its own court-martial. J 

Functioning as the Mormon lobbyist in the passage of the charter was 
John C. Bennett, around whom violent controversy was to center within 
a few years. Bennett, a doctor of somewhat dubious ability, was charac- 
terized by Governor Ford as "probably the greatest scamp in the western 
country." He had written a long, flattering letter to Smith early in 1840, 
hinting that he would join the Mormons if he could be assured of their 
political support, and intimating that he had his eye on the Governorship 
of Illinois. Smith's reply was none too cordial, but Bennett took up resi- 
dence in Nauvoo in September of that year, and soon was wielding much 
influence in the civic affairs of the Mormons. For a while he served as 
mayor of Nauvoo and Major-General of the Nauvoo Legion; in addition 
he was appointed Master-in-chancery of Hancock County and Quarter- 
master-general of the Illinois State Militia. 

Smith did not frequently tolerate the acquisition of such authority. 
More than six feet in height, and weighing over 200 pounds, he possessed 
exuberance and vitality that were felt in the temporal as well as the 
spiritual affairs of the Mormons. He has been variously described, depend- 
ing on the bias of the interviewer, but all were impressed by his geniality 
and his democratic qualities. Josiah Quincy, in his Figures of the Past, 
depicted him as "a hearty, athletic fellow, with blue eyes standing promi- 
nently out on his light complexion, a long nose, and a retreating forehead 
... a fine looking man, is what the passer-by would instinctively have 
murmured upon meeting the remarkable individual." 

The Mormon dwellings had no more than begun to rise on the Flat 
when Joseph Smith inaugurated an ambitious plan for foreign missionary 
work. Such work had already been pursued intensively in this country 
during the unstable years before Nauvoo, but now it assumed a grand 
scale. Brigham Young, Wilford Woodruff, and others of the Twelve 
Apostles were dispatched to England, and Orson Hyde to the Jews in Con- 
stantinople and Jerusalem. The Millenial Star was established in England, 


v - W 


■ ■ 


and is still being published there; in one year's time 5,000 copies of the 

Book of Mormon were published and distributed, and 50,000 tracts. Their 

efforts met with singular success, especially in the depressed areas, such 

as Manchester and Liverpool. By 1350 there were 28,000 members of the 

church in England and Scotland, and 3,700 migrated to America between 

f"*1840 and 1846, taking up residence at Nauvoo. To the large number of 

\ English converts is also traced a portion of the trouble that beset the 

\ Mormons later. Prejudice against the English, stemming from the War 

/of 1812, had not yet completely died down on the frontier. 

Joseph Smith's revelations, which had filled a sizeable little book by 
1835, came with less and less frequency at Nauvoo. But early in 1841, 
the Times and Seasons published a long revelation dated January 19th, 
containing instructions for the building of a Temple and a hotel. Referring 
to the latter, it read: "and let the name of that house be called Nauvoo 
House, and let it be a delightful habitation for man, and a resting place 
for the weary traveler, that he may contemplate the glory of Zion and 


Chicago Daily News Photo— By Clyde 

the glory of this, the corner-stone thereof ..." Elaborate instructions 
were given for the financing of the structure; a committee of the Saints 
was specifically named in the revelation to receive money and issue stock. 

The Temple, a much more elaborate building, was treated rather briefly 
in comparison. In part it read: 

"And send ye swift messengers, yea, chosen messengers, and 
say unto them; come ye, with all your gold and silver, and your 
precious stones, and with all your antiquities; and with all who 
have knowledge of antiquities, that will come, may come, and 
bring the box tree, and the fir tree, and the pine tree, together 
with all the precious trees of the earth." 
The practice of tithing, still prevalent among the Mormons in a modified 
form, greatly aided the construction of the Temple. Workmen gave every 
tenth day of their labor. The revelation had said nothing about the size 
or style of the building, other than the mention that Joseph Smith would 
be shown "all things pertaining to this house . . . and the place whereon 
it shall be built." At intervals the Prophet gave instructions how the 
work should proceed. Josiah Quincy, in his Figures of the Past, records 
an amusing incident observed during his trip to Nauvoo: 

"Near the Temple we passed a workman who was laboring 
under a huge sun, which he had chiselled from the solid rock. 
The countenance was of the negro type, and it was surrounded 
by the conventional rays. 

" 'General Smith,' said the man, looking up from his task, 
'is this like the face you saw in the vision?' 


" 'Very near it,' answered the Prophet, 'Except' (this was 

added with an air of careful connoisseurship that was quite 

overpowering) — 'except that the nose is just a thought too 


* * * 

As the city spread and flourished, the first intimations of opposition 
began to rumble here and there throughout the countryside. The Mormons 
had given the Whigs a majority of more than 700 for Harrison in Han-^ 
cock County, but in the gubernatorial contest of 1842 their vote swung 
to the Democrats, who received a majority or more than a thousand in 
this county. The attitude of the Gentiles had been summed up by the 
Warsaw Signal, which was shortly to become a violent critic of the Saints. 
"We believe they have the same rights as other religious bodies . . . But 
whenever they, as a people, step beyond the proper sphere of a 
religious denomination, and become a political body, as many of our 
citizens are beginning to apprehend will be the case, then this press stands 
pledged to take a stand against them." 
^i""""~"^Early in 1842 trouble burgeoned again in Missouri. On May 6 an 
Y[ attempt was made to assassinate Governor Boggs, author of the intemperate 
"extermination order" that had preceded the Mormons' expulsion from 
that state.J, Seated by an open window, the governor was badly wounded 
by a pistol-ball fired by an unknown assailant. '•Suspicion immediately 
focused on the Saints, and warrants were procured for 0. P. Rockwell, 
charged with firing the shot, and Joseph Smith, named as inciter of the 
attack. Smith was arrested but promptly sued out a writ of habeas corpus 
in his Municipal Court. This was but the first of a series of arrests and 
attempted arrests, and for more than a year Smith was frequently in 
hiding, j Once he was captured while out of Nauvoo, a"ncT only a hasty 
intervention of friends prevented his being hustled away to Missouri. The 
Utah edition of Doctrine and Covenants contains an epistle, dated Sep- 
tember 1, 1842, that demonstrates the good use to which Smith put his 
powers. "For as much as the Lord has revealed unto me," it runs, "that 
my enemies, both in Missouri and this State, were again in the pursuit 
of me ... I have thought it expedient and wisdom in me to leave the 
*fs place for a short season ..." 

r^rShortly after the Boggs incident, serious trouble developed for the first 
J time in the ranks of the faithful. Bennett broke with the church and sud- 
denly left Nauvoo. Mormon historians claim that he was excommunicated 


for immorality, but Bennett gave a characteristically grand and exciting 
explanation. Soon he published a lurid booklet, History of the Saints; or 
an Expose of Joe Smith and Mormonism, and began a series of lectures 
on the same subject. In the preface he claimed that he had learned of 
Mormon plans to set up a despotic religious empire over Illinois and ad- 
joining states, and had joined the church merely to expose this treasonous 
plot. The book, written in a sensational style, made detailed charges oT~"\ 
polygamy. Bennett subsequently convicted himself of roguery by attempt- 1/ 
ing to rejoin the church, after Smith's death. But the charges that he 
noised about found many an eager ear. A group of Mormon wives promptly / 
denied, in a published affidavit, that polygamy was practiced at Nauvoo, / 
and Bennett Was bitterly assailed in the Times and Seasons. <fi 

Although opposition kept rumbling in the offing, eastern immigrants 
and foreign converts continued to pour in; the Times and Seasons, in 
October 1842, estimated that the city contained "between 7,000 and 8,000 
houses, with a population of 14,000 or 15,000." On the hill the Temple 
was rising, and in August, 1843, the Prophet moved into the Mansion 
House, a fine large frame structure across the street from the little cabin 
he had occupied for four years. 

Hto Daily News Photo— By Clyde Brown 





Not much is known of the economic structure of Nauvoo during the 
Mormon days. The Times and Seasons and the journals of church leaders 
were almost wholly preoccupied with religious and political matters, and 
the manner in which these people made their living comes to us as a 
blurred and shadowy picture. There was evidently little industrial devel- 
opment — a few mills, a wagon shop, two quarries, a match and powder 
factory. Most of the manufactured products were consumed at home. 
Agriculture seemed to have been the broad, strong basis of the settlement, 
for Nauvoo was flanked by Mormon farms that extended deep into the 
country away from the river. 

— in one sense, the year 1843 was the most important in Mormon history. 
What occurred, or did not occur, on July 12 of that year has plagued 
many a historian and occasioned much acrimony between the different 
branches of Mormonism. Nine years later, on August 29, 1852, Brigham 
Young announced to a Mormon conference at Salt Lake City, Utah, the 
existence of what he claimed was a secret revelation received by 
Joseph Smith at Nauvoo, July 12, 1843. This was the so-called "plural 
wives" revelation, advocating the doctrine of polygamy. Its authenticity 
has consistently been denied by the Reorganized Church. That the revela- 
tion was not in Joseph Smith's handwriting has never been disputed; 
furthermore it was pointed out that the Times and Seasons of February, 
1844, carried a notice, signed by Joseph Smith, of the excommunication 
of a Mormon elder for preaching "polygamy and other false and corrupt 
doctrines." Brigham Young's version of the controversy was as follows: 
"Though that doctrine (polygamy) has not been preached by 
the Elders, this people have believed in it for many years. The 
original copy of this revelation was burned up. William Clayton 
was the man who wrote it from the mouth of the Prophet. In 
the meantime it was in Bishop Whitney's possession. He wished 
the privilege to copy it, which brother Joseph granted. Sister 
Emma (Joseph Smith's wife) burnt the original." 
Joseph's above-mentioned denunciation of polygamy, the year after the 
purported revelation, is explained by the Utah branch on the basis of 
expediency. Its members hold that the Prophet was justified in denying 
the doctrine because it would have outraged the Gentiles. The entire con- 
troversy now partakes of a somewhat academic flavor, like the Bacon- 
Shakespeare dispute, since polygamy has long since been abandoned. 
In the winter of 1843-44 Joseph Smith took a bold political step, in 



comparison /with which the previous maneuvers of the Saints became in- 
significant. / His attempts to secure reparation for the confiscation and 
destruction of Mormon property in Missouri had been unsuccessful, and 
now he took a new tack; he would wield the formidable bloc of Mormon 
votes as a weapon to secure reparation. The Times and Seasons of Octo- 
ber 1, 1843, carried an editorial captioned "Who Shall Be Our Next Presi- 
dent?", which urged that it be someone favorably disposed to the Mormon 
claims against Missouri. The following month Smith set about polling 
the presidential candidates on the question. Cass, Johnson, and Van Buren 
did not reply; and Henry Clay and John Calhoun would make no definite 
commitments, promising the Mormons only that they would be treated 
equitably with other religious bodies. 

Smith spurned these reassurances. "In your answer to my question," 
he wrote Clay, "that peculiar trait of the modern politician, declaring 'if 
you ever enter into that high office, you must go into it unfettered, with 
no guarantees but such as are to be drawn from your whole life, character 
and conduct' so much resembles a lottery vendor's sign . . . that I cannot 
help exclaiming, 'O, frail man, what have you done that will exalt you? 
Can anything be drawn from your life, character or conduct that is worthy 
of being held up to the gaze of this nation as a model of virtue, character 
and wisdom?' " 


Smith's audacious solution for the Mormons' political dilemma was the 
announcement, in February, 1844, that he was a candidate for the presi- 
dency of the United States. Sidney Rigdon became the Mormon candidate 
for vice president, and shortly Smith's plaform, an amazing and unortho- 
dox political document, was published. It advocated freeing the slaves and 
all convicts; thenceforth only murder would be punished by confinement 
or death, and other offenders would be put to work on public roads. Con- 
gress would be reduced to half its size, and its members' wages cut to $2 a 
day and board. A strong national government was urged, with Presiden- 
tial authority to send the army anywhere to quell mobs. All lawyers were 
to be converted into missionaries, "to preach the Gospel to the destitute, 
without purse or scrip." The document was concluded: "With the highest 
esteem, I am a friend of virtue and of the people." 

Men experienced in missionary work were sent out to other states, but 
now they exhorted listeners to vote for Joseph Smith for President. Gov- 
ernor Ford is authority for the statement that between two thousand and 
three thousand missionaries were dispatched. Some historians claim that 
Smith was too intelligent to have hopes of victory in his campaign; that 
it was but a scheme to publicize Mormonism. But the question remains 
unsolved. Before the campaign was very far under way the trouble that 
had been rumbling about Nauvoo swelled to a roar that drowned out 
political slogans as a tornado swallows the cheep of a sparrow. 

* * * 

Bennett's apostasy had been that of an opportunist who could make more 
money by vilifying the Saints than by currying their favor. But now oc- 
curred a schism that appreciably wrenched the structure of the church. 
William and Wilson Law, Dr. R. D. Foster, Sylvester Emmons, and a 
few of their friends procured a printing press and on June 7, 1844, printed 
the first and only issue of the Expositor. That night lamps burned late 
and many a home buzzed with excitement as Mormons pored over the 
daring attack it contained. "We are aware," ran the preamble, "that we 
are hazarding every earthly blessing, particularly property, and probably 
life itself, in striking this blow at tyranny and oppression." The paper 
then went on to attack polygamy and the political aspirations of Smith. 
It called for the withdrawal of the church from politics, and the repeal of 
the powerful city charter. Intimations of financial irregularity were made 
and the question was asked why the Church, as such, owned no property 
in Nauvoo save the Temple. "The wealth that is brought into the place," 





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Daily News Photo— By Clyde Br, 


the Expositor charged, "is swallowed up by the one great throat, from 
whence there is no return." 

These men had all been influential in the church, and their attack was 
all the more dangerous to the Prophet because it was directed against him 
personally, rather than against Mormonism. It is surprising that these 
men could have retained their faith in the church while denouncing its 
founder as a blackguard, but such was the case. 
I Smith moved swiftly to suppress the revolt. The next day, Saturday, 
the City Council was convened to try the Expositor and its backers. The 
following Monday, June 10, it passed a resolution denouncing the paper 
as a nuisance. Smith, as mayor, promptly instructed the city marshal as 
follows : 

"You are hereby commanded to destroy the printing press 
from whence issues the Nauvoo Expositor, and pi the type of 
said printing establishment in the street, and burn all the Ex- 
positors and libellous hand bills found in said establishment; and 
if resistance be offered to the execution of this order, by the 
owners or others, destroy the house; and if any one threatens 
you or the Mayor or the officers of the city, arrest those who 
threaten you ; and fail not to execute this order without delay, and 
make due return thereon." 


At the same time the Nauvoo Legion was called out. Shortly after eight 
that evening the marshal curtly reported that "the within-named press 
and type is destroyed and pied according to order." 

Only seven years before, public feeling had been fanned to a fury when 
a pro-slavery mob at Alton had smashed the presses of Elijah Lovejoy, 
Abolitionist editor. Now the streets of another Illinois town were once 
more littered with pied type and charred copies of a newspaper. The 
Expositor's backers fled to Carthage, and by the next day news of the 
paper's suppression was trickling like a freshet throughout the county. 
Anti-Mormon sentiment, arising from a half-dozen causes, now focused 
on an outlet. 

The Laws procured at Carthage a warrant for the arrest of the Prophet 
and other Mormons responsible for the press's destruction. Smith promptly 
nullified it by a writ of habeus corpus in the Nauvoo court. But by now 
such a legal maneuver was like attempting to dam a roaring flood with a 
handful of sand. Anti-Mormon mobs began to assemble throughout the 
county ; and a few level-headed citizens requested Governor For j, to call 
out the militia. Ford hurried to Carthage, urged that no illegal steps be 
taken, and then sent word to Smith to surrender, promising him security 
from mob action. But Smith, accompanied by his brother Hyrum and 
several other Mormon leaders, fled across the Mississippi on the night of 
June 22, and laid plans to leave Nauvoo permanently. 

Many of the Mormons at Nauvoo were dismayed at their Prophet's 
action, and feared measures of retaliation at the hands of the Gentiles 
once the news of Smith's departure seeped out to the county. Faced with 
charges of cowardice, Smith and the others returned. On June 24 they 
gave themselves up and were imprisoned at Carthage, charged with in- 
citing a riot. There, because he had previously declared Nauvoo under 
martial law and had called out the Nauvoo Legion, Smith was charged 
in addition with treason. He and Hyrum were held without bail, but the 
others were released upon posting $500 each. 

The tension in Hancock County wavered near the breaking point. 
Gentiles at Carthage feared that the Nauvoo Legion would march on their 
town and release the Prophet by force. At Nauvoo rumors were spreading 
that a Gentile mob would descend on the town, now that it was deprived 
of its leader, and lay it waste. Both sides began arming, while Governor 
Ford struggled frantically to quiet the unrest and pursue a legal course of 
action. The Gentile companies of the militia wanted to march on Nauvoo, 


ostensibly to search for a counterfeiting plant. When Ford learned of an 
alleged plan to sack Nauvoo, he ordered the disbanding of all militia com- 
panies save three, one of which accompanied him to Nauvoo. The other 
two were left to guard the jail at Carthage. On the morning of June 27, 
Ford went to Nauvoo and assured the Mormons that their leader would 
receive a fair trial, and warned them that any attempts on their part to 
use force would result in the destruction of Nauvoo by the Gentiles. 

Meanwhile the militia from Warsaw, bitterest of the anti-Mormon settle- 
ments, was marching to Nauvoo when it received the Governor's order to 
disband. Only a portion complied, and the remainder altered their course 
and proceeded to Carthage. 

% The Prophet and his brother were being held in the reception room of 
the jail, which bore no lock. John Taylor, who succeeded Brigham Young 
in the Presidency at Salt Lake City, and Willard Richards, were in the 
room visiting them. Shortly after five a mob, with blackened faces, attacked 
the jail. A volley was fired up the stairway, another from outside the 
building, and Hyrum Smith, shot through the skull, fell dead. The Pro- 
phet, having a six-shooter that had been smuggled in, fired three times at 
the mob, while Taylor desperately attempted to strike down, with a walk- 
ing stick, the muskets that were thrust in at the door. The Prophet's gun 

tay Nauvoo Milk Products Co. 


then missed fire, and he ran to the window and was poised, ready to leap 
out, when three musket balls struck him.t Crying "0 Lord, my God," he 
fell from the building. The rioters, after ascertaining that he was dead, 
withdrew. Richards was untouched, but Taylor had been shot several 
times; one ball had smashed his watch, stopping it with its hands standing 
at 5 o'clock, 16 minutes, and 26 seconds. 

The following day the bodies of Joseph and Hyrum Smith were taken 
to Nauvoo, where they were met by a mournful procession. When the 
time came for the burial, Joseph's wife, fearing vandals, had the coffins 
filled with rocks, and the bodies were secretly buried beneath the Nauvoo 
House. Later they were moved again, and for years, until 1928, their 
resting place was known only to a few of Smith's descendants. 

Governor Ford made an attempt to bring the murderers of the Smiths 
to justice. When the grand jury convened in the fall, indictments were 
procured against nine men, but their trial dragged on well into the spring 
of 1845. Mormon writers claim that the trial was a farce, that a mob 
intimidated the Saints who attempted to testify. When, on May 30th, the 
case was given to the jury, it returned a verdict of "not guilty" after de- 
liberating a scant two and a half hours. 



$5 Soon $5 (ftCLM (ftOW* 


It will be recalled that most of the Mormon leaders, including a majority 
of the Twelve Apostles, were campaigning in the East during the last days 
of Smith. As soon as news of Smith's murder reached them they hurried 
to Nauvoo : Rigdon from Pittsburgh, Brigham Young, Heber Kimball and 
others from New England. Rigdon beat Young's party to Nauvoo by 
three days, called a meeting of the Saints and announced that the Lord 
had told him in a vision that a guardian must be appointed for the church. 
But before any steps were taken, Brigham and his friends arrived. The 
following day, at a meeting of Mormon leaders, Rigdon repeated his story 
of the vision, announced himself as the Prophet's spokesman, and sug- 
gested himself as guardian. 

Now Brigham Young's genius in leadership revealed itself. At a meeting 
of the whole body of Saints on the next day, he undermined Rigdon's 
claims in an impassioned address, and strengthened his own position by 
making no direct plea for power for himself. Instead, he requested that 
the Saints "support the Twelve" (of which he was President) and this 
was done by a unanimous vote. Rigdon took his defeat badly. For a 
while he remained in Nauvoo. His opposition to Young became pro- 
nounced, and at last he was "cut off from the church, and delivered over 
to the buffeting of Satan." He returned to Pittsburgh, where he gathered 
a few followers about him and proclaimed himself "First President, Pro- 
phet, Seer, Revelator, and Translator." Undaunted by his church's meager 


membership, he announced grand plans. "I will cross the Atlantic," he 
wrote, "encounter the Queen's (Queen Victoria's) forces, and overcome 
them— plant the American standard on English ground, and then march 
to the palace of Her Majesty, and demand a portion of her riches and 
dominions, which if she refuse, I will take the little madam by the nose, 
and lead her out, and she shall have no power to help herself." His 
church soon died out. 

Rigdon's withdrawal did not wholly settle the question of leadership. 
A sizeable group believed that the Prophet's mantle should descend to 
Joseph Smith's eldest son, then twelve years old. Upon this premise, 
among others, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 
was later organized, and the presidency in that Church has since remained 
in the family. 

The violence that culminated in the Prophet's murder abated only tem- 
porarily. In January, 1845, the troublesome Nauvoo Charter was repealed 
by the State Legislature. The Mormon paper proclaimed pessimistically: 
"Well, our charter is repealed ; the murderers of the Smiths are 
running at large, and if the Mormons should wish to imitate their 
forefathers and fulfill the Scripture by making it 'hard to kick 
against the pricks' by wearing cast steel spikes about four or five 
inches long in their boots and shoes to kick with, what's the 

Sporadic brushes between Mormons and Gentiles continued, increasing 
in number as fall came on, and one night early in September an anti- 
Mormon meeting at Green Plain was fired on. Mormons claim that the 
attack was a frame-up by the Gentiles to excuse their subsequent purge 
of the out-country, wherein Mormon farmers were driven into Nauvoo by 
raiding parties that burned their homes and destroyed or confiscated their 
crops. The Mormons, under a sympathetic sheriff named Backenstos, re- 
taliated by raising a large armed force and raiding the Gentile towns and 
farms. Less than a month after the incident at Green Plain, Governor 
Ford was again forced to step in. A committee of four, which included 
Stephen A. Douglas, headed an armed force that moved in to preserve 
order and negotiate for a settlement of the dispute. 

The only settlement acceptable to the anti-Mormons was the removal of 
the Saints from Illinois. Informed of this ultimatum, the Saints considered 
the choice that faced them: a continuation of the riots and plundering, or 
abandonment of a thriving city, the last earthly home of their Prophet. 



aily News Photo — By Clyde Br* 


On September 24 Brigham Young announced their decision: "as soon as 
grass grows and water runs" the Mormons would migrate to some distant 
place where there would not "need to be a difficulty with the people and 

Douglas and the committee, informed of the Mormons' decision, dis- 
patched two remarkably even-tempered documents, one to the Saints, one 
to the Gentiles. The Gentiles were warned that "resort to, or persist- 
ence in, such a course (of terrorism) under existing circumstances will 
make you forfeit all the respect and sympathy of the community." After 
advising the Mormons that they should take steps making it obvious that 
they would leave in the spring, the committee promised them an un- 
molested departure. 

Throughout the riots and negotiations, many an anti-Mormon was 
puzzled to note that work was proceeding unchecked on the Temple, then 
near completion. Even the agreement to leave Nauvoo brought about no 
halt in the work, and on October 5, 1845, the Saints assembled in the 
Temple for the first meeting there. Then the seeming folly was ex- 
plained. The revelation commanding that the Temple be built had warned 
the Saints that "a baptismal font there is not upon the earth, that 
they, my saints, may be baptized for those who are dead; for this ordi- 
nance belongeth to my house, and cannot be acceptable to me, only in the 


days of your poverty wherein ye are not able to build a house unto me." 
Immediately after the opening of the Temple, baptism of the dead by proxy 
began, and continued day after day for several months. 

Meanwhile Nauvoo had been transformed into a gigantic wagon shop, 
and the Flat echoed almost continually with the sound of hammer and 
saw as the Saints prepared for their exodus. Property was disposed of 
at a fraction of its value; horses and oxen were at a premium. 

The first body of Saints, led by Brigham Young, crossed the Mississippi 
in February, in advance of the time they had agreed upon. By now they 
were thoroughly perturbed, and they hoped, by demonstrating their good 
faith, to forestall violence. By the time "grass grew and water ran" the 
exodus was averaging a thousand persons a week. Still the Gentiles were 
dissatisfied. When time had tempered the passions engendered by the 
Mormon Wars, it was admitted that the events of the summer of 1846 
were the most shameful of the whole deplorable affair. 

Despite the daily departures, rumors circulated that a considerable body 
of the Saints planned to remain. Terrorism was renewed; on one occasion 
a Mormon farm-hand was brutally whipped and sent into Nauvoo to show 
his welts. Then, on September 11, the anti-Mormons completely abrogated 
the agreement that the Douglas committee had negotiated, and marched a 
force of 700 men and several pieces of field artillery on Nauvoo. The 
besieged city hastily assembled a make-shift defense comprising a few 
cannons contrived out of steamboat shafts. For two days there was open 
warfare and the echoes of cannonading rolled out over the Mississippi 
and through the wooded bluffs on the Iowa side. But the city did not fall. 
When news of the conflict got down to Quincy, neutral citizens organ- 
ized a committee of 100 and hurried to Nauvoo. There they managed to 
halt the siege. Thus the men of Quincy, who had broken the frontier pre- 
cedent years before by welcoming the Saints, were able to extend to 
them a small gesture of good-will at the end. 

But the anti-Mormons halted the siege only after the harshest of terms 
were imposed upon the Mormons. All were to leave the city immediately. 
An eyewitness described the confusion: 

"In every part of the city scenes of destitution, misery and 
woe met the eye. Families were hurrying away from their homes, 
without a shelter, — without means of conveyance, — without tents, 
money, or a day's provision, with as much of their household 
stuff as they could carry in their hands. Sick men and women 


were carried upon their beds — weary mothers, with helpless babes 
dying in their arms, hurried away — all fleeing, they scarcely 
knew or cared whither, so it was from their enemies, whom they 
feared more than the waves of the Mississippi, or the heat, and 
hunger and lingering life and dreaded death of the prairies on 
which they were about to be cast. The ferry boats were crowded, 
and the river bank was lined with anxious fugitives, sadly await- 
ing their turn to pass over and take up their solitary march to 

the wilderness." 

* * * 

Meanwhile Brigham Young and his party had established a camp near 
Council Bluffs and there awaited the remainder of the Saints. It was not 
until early in 1847 that they were ready to begin their westward journey 
that was to find peace and permanence for them in Utah. On January 14 
he assembled his following and read to them a brief proclamation. "The 
word and will of the Lord concerning the Camp of Israel in their journey - 
ings to the West : Let all the people of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- 
day Saints and those who journey with them, be organized into com- 
panies, with a covenant and promise to keep all the commandments and 
statutes of the Lord our God." On and on he read, his breath freezing in a 
mist as the Saints were urged to be solicitous of the poor, the widows, 
and the fatherless. Then the Lord's instructions were concluded, "Be dili- 
gent in keeping all my commandments, lest judgement come upon you, 
and your faith fail you, and your enemies triumph over you — So no more 
at present. 

"Amen and Amen." 


Utopia &ome5 to A/auvoo 

A few neutral non-Mormons had come to Nauvoo during the exodus, 
buying property and attempting to establish themselves, but so great was 
the anti-Mormon fury that these too had been driven from Nauvoo in the 
final riots. Weeds took root in the streets. Rats scurried fearlessly through 
the open doors of the fine houses wherein the Twelve Apostles had lived, 
and the Temple, most pretentious building in the Middle West, stood mute 
and staring above the abandoned city. On November 11, 1848, the Temple 
was fired by an incendiary, and only the walls were left standing. This 
blow at prostrate Nauvoo was the last recorded act of anti-Mormonism. 

During the same year that the Temple was fired, a party of 69 French- 
men who called themselves the Pioneers of Humanity left Le Havre, 
France, bound for Texas to establish a communistic society. Known popu- 
larly as the Icarians, the group had been organized by Etienne Cabet, 
prominent French jurist and attorney-general of Corsica during the Second 
Republic. Cabet, a cooper's son, had early identified himself with the 
proletariat. Convinced that an economic system based on the tenet "from 
each according to his ability and to each according to his need" would 
operate to the advantage of all, he had expressed his beliefs in True Chris- 
tianity and Voyage to Icaria, volumes that won a considerable little band 
to his form of communism. Cabet felt that communism should be patterned 
on the moral teachings of Christ, rather than on a rigid mechanistic frame- 


Cabet first applied for permission to conduct his social experiment in 
France, and upon refusal, obtained a land grant in Texas and recruited 
the first emigrant band of Pioneers of Humanity. Sailing to America, 
they made their way up the Red River, and established a settlement on 
their land grant. They were stricken by malaria, and, betrayed by Cabet's 
lieutenant, they soon became disheartened and returned to New Orleans. 

Other groups that had meanwhile journeyed from France joined the 
pioneers at New Orleans. Aware that the future success of his movement 
depended on the fate of the American experiment, Cabet left 
France and joined the 200 Icarians who had gathered at New Orleans. 

In the spring of 1849 three Icarians traveled up the Mississippi in search 
of a suitable location. Arriving at Nauvoo they found a site that conformed 
precisely to their needs. Delighted by their find they returned to New 
Orleans, and the main body of Icarians was soon installed at the city 
recently abandoned by the Mormons. 

The Icarians bought 12 acres of land, and built several tenements and 
a large assembly hall which contained a communal kitchen, refectory, 
women's workshop, and sleeping quarters. The Icarian government con- 
sisted of a president, elected yearly, together with a cabinet composed of 
directors of finance, public instruction, clothing and nourishment, and in- 
dustry and agriculture. 

The workshops and labor gangs were supervised by foremen elected 
monthly by the workers. Flour, shoes, clothing, anc 

uy luiemcii cicticu 

id whiskey were the 
t Keokuk, Iowa, and 

principal products; surplus commodities were sold at 
St. Louis, Mo. Possession of money was restricted to the director of 
finance; individual needs of shoes and clothing were supplied from a 
common fund. Two doctors attended the sick of the colony, and main- 
tained a small hospital staffed by competent nurses. 

At the age of seven, Icarian children entered the colony's school and 
continued until they were able to conform to the high standards of an 
examining commission. Allowed to visit their parents on Sundays only, 
the children were trained to perform their own household duties and to 
manage the dormitories where they lived. Housing space for adults was 
alloted in the following manner: married couples were given one room, 
and bachelors, of whom there were once 108, were assigned two to a 
room. Each chamber contained a bed, table, mirror, and two chairs. 

The Icarians had no official religion; some were atheists, others ag- 
nostics, and still others spiritualists. On Sundays, Cabet gave lectures on 



Chicago Daily Nam Photo— By ClyA 

Chrises moral teachings which were regularly attended by most of the 
colony. A choir, band, and theatrical club supplied communal entertain- 

Fascinated by the massive ruins of the Temple, Cabet determined to 
reconstruct the edifice. Despite the heavy debt that already handicapped 
the community, $500 was expended for possession of the huge stone pile. 
Eleven workers were assigned to rebuild the structure and an Icarian 
architect, Alfred H. Piquenard, who later designed the State capitol at 
Springfield, Illinois, was sent north to buy lumber. 

On the afternoon of May 27, 1850, at almost the exact hour of the day 
that Joseph Smith had been slain, a terrific storm tore into Nauvoo, and, 
seeming to single out the Temple, felled the walls with a roar that was 
heard three miles away. The Icarians abandoned their reconstruction and 
the affair occasioned the first grumbling against Cabet's leadership. 

Despite the skilled workmen in the colony and the principles that they 
followed, shirking became contagious and production slackened. The 
debt against the Icarians grew larger each year. Individualism crept into 
the colony. As described by Emilie Vallet, member of the Icarians, "The 
beast began to show itself. Having been raised under the influence of 
individualism, we could not be expected to fulfill the requirements of 
such a mode of life." 


Taking advantage of the homestead laws, a second Icarian colony estab- 
lished itself in Iowa during 1853. Unable to sustain themselves by their 
produce, the new colony was supported by wagon loads of clothing and 
food-stuffs regularly sent from Nauvoo. 

In an attempt to stimulate sagging production quotas, several Icarians 
proposed that competitive methods be adopted by the community. Cabet, 
true collectivist, scorned the proposal. Indeed, those found to harbour the 
virus of individualism were regularly expelled from the community, so 
that, despite the constant arrival of Icarians from France, the population 
of the Nauvoo colony remained at 500. 

Steadily the debt and dissension of the Icarians increased. In winter 
the coal that was supposed to be equally divided among all was carried 
away by a few as soon as it arrived, and the aged and ill were left without 
fuel; at breakfast, the tiny piece of butter intended to be divided equally 
among ten persons was snatched and consumed by a greedy few. In these 
and a hundred similar trifling incidents was reflected the spirit that even- 
tually despoiled Cabet's colony. 

At first called Father and likened to Christ, Cabet steadily lost his 
followers' esteem. Sensing that events were heading the colony toward 
certain failure, he came forward in the annual election of 1856 with the 
proposals that the president be elected thereafter for four years, and that 
overseers be appointed to check the production of each Icarian. 

For the first time, Cabet found his claim to the presidency challenged 
by another candidate. In the election Cabet was soundly defeated. Refus- 
ing to accept the majority's choice, he organized a group that went on 
strike. Adopting a policy of no work, no food, the majority locked the 
dining hall. Cabet's faction chopped down the doors. A brawl ensued 
and the minority group was repulsed. Cabet, resorting to legal means 
to regain possession of the colony, brought his case into court, and, al- 
though a skillful lawyer, lost the verdict. 

Aware that the breech could not be healed, Cabet and his followers left 
Nauvoo in the autumn of 1856, and journeyed to St. Louis. Brooding 
over the failure of his colony, he who had been called Christ and Father, 
shortly became ill and died unattended. 

The majority group at Nauvoo, meanwhile, voted to sell their property, 
pay their debts, and combine forces with the colony that had been estab- 
lished at Corning, Iowa. The sale of Icarian property at Nauvoo brought 
$25,000, a sum scarcely covering the colony's indebtedness. In the autumn 


of 1858 the last Icarians at Nauvoo left to join their comrades in Iowa. 
The Corning colony, faring better than had that at Nauvoo, lasted until 
the 1870's. 

With the departure of the Icarians, the unconventional days of Nauvoo 
were done. Gradual resettlement began in the late fifties and the six- 
ties, but not in sufficient extent to occupy a community the size of the 
one left by the Mormons. Many of those who resettled Nauvoo in this 
period were German emigrants who had fled their country after the revo- 
lution of 1848, and a strong German strain still runs through Nauvoo's 
population. Most of the frame buildings left by the Mormons — and there 
were far more frames than bricks — fell into ruin and were torn down. 
Gradually Nauvoo scaled itself down to its present size. 

The facade of the ruined Temple stood for a time like a sombre painting 
by Hubert Robert, but at last it was condemned and torn down. The 
limestone blocks eventually found their way into the construction of many 
a house or commercial building. Thus the Temple that Joseph Smith 
planned as the focus and glory of Nauvoo was diffused throughout the 
city, assuming a different function, but never to be wholly lost as long as 
Nauvoo stands on the hill beside the river. 


by John Stenvall 


On the 4/ill and In tke 7/at 

(Note — There are no street signs in Nauvoo. Years ago the names of 
some of the streets were changed from those given them by the Mormons, 
and some residents still use the old. Mormon names. Seventh Street* for 
example, is also known as Main Street. The tourist desiring to use the map 
in this book can orient himself from St. Edmund Hall, which dominates 
the town. The State Highway, passing in front of the Hall, traverses Mul- 
holland Street. Immediately beyond the Hall it makes a sharp turn and 
there becomes Tenth Street. In the following points of interest, the nota- 
tion "(private)" means that the house is serving as a private dwelling. 
Occupants, however, are usually willing to grant permission to inspect.) 

1. The JOSEPH SMITH HOMESTEAD (open to tourists) consists of 
three sections, the original log cabin into which Joseph Smith moved 
upon coming to Nauvoo, the left wing, which is a frame addition, and an 
addition at the rear. Some of these improvements were made before 
the Prophet moved to the Mansion House in 1843. The original log struc- 


ture is the oldest house now standing in Nauvoo. Owned by the Reorgan- 
ized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Homestead is main- 
tained as a house museum and a shrine to Joseph Smith. It is furnished 
throughout with antiques, a number of which are original pieces of the 
Prophet's family. A member of the Reorganized Church conducts a lecture 
tour that includes this building, the graves immediately adjoining it, and 
the Mansion House across the street. There is no fixed fee, but contribu- 
tions toward the upkeep of the buildings are accepted. 

grassy plot, surrounded by an iron fence, on the river side of the Home- 
stead. The bodies of the Prophet and his brother were moved several 
times after the murder at Carthage, and were finally secretly buried in a 
springhouse a short distance from where they now rest. This fell into 
ruin, and when the level of the river was raised by the completion of 
Keokuk Dam fear was expressed that the bodies might never be recovered. 
It was only after considerable search that a party sponsored by the Re- 
organized Church discovered the bodies in 1928. A hole in the skull of one 
of the bodies identified it as that of Hyrum Smith, shot through the head 
at Carthage jail. The bodies of the brothers, with that of Joseph Smith's 
wife, Emma, were reinterred January 20, 1928. Within the plot are also 
two base-stones from the pilasters of the Nauvoo Temple. 

3. The MANSION HOUSE (open to tourists) served as Joseph Smith's 
home from August, 1843, until his death at Carthage. Originally it ex- 
tended much deeper, and contained 22 rooms, 15 of which were bedrooms. 
Much has been made of this # by sensational writers, who deduce from the 
large number of bedrooms proof that Smith practiced polygamy. At the 
time of Smith's occupancy, however, there was but one small hotel in 
Nauvoo, and the Prophet, possessed of great hospitality, offered lodgings 
in his home to many of Nauvoo's visitors. The clap-boarding of the 
Mansion House is new, but the window and door sills are the originals, 
as are many of the window panes. The portion of the interior that re- 
mained after the remodeling is substantially the same as it was when 
Smith lived here. Occupied by James Page, grandson of John E. Page, 
one of the Twelve Apostles, the Mansion House is owned by the Reorgan- 
ized Church and maintained as a house museum. Among its exhibits are 
foreign editions of the Book of Mormon, early editions of Doctrine and 
Covenants, two bound volumes of Times and Seasons, and Joseph Smith's 
desk, which contains several secret compartments. The Mansion House 


is headquarters for the guide service maintained by the Reorganized 
Church (small fee, depending upon size of party, for tour of the Mormon 
dwellings). Lodging can also be procured here or at the Nauvoo House, 
and the Church rents several tourist cabins on the river side of the house. 

4. The NAUVOO HOUSE (open to tourists) was begun in 1841 as a 
boarding house, following a revelation received by the Prophet. The 
original plans called for a building 120 feet by 40 feet on Seventh Street, 
with an ell of the same dimensions extending at right angles along the 
river. The death of Joseph Smith halted construction before completion. 
Later Smith's widow remarried, and her husband, L. C. Bidamon, altered 
the plans and completed the building as it stands today. The foundation 
as originally planned still stands on the Seventh Street side. The small 
stone building, at the north end of the foundation, was built as an office 
by Bidamon. The Nauvoo House is used to provide lodging for visitors 
whenever the Mansion House is filled. 

memorates the founding of the Mormon's relief society by Joseph Smith, 
March 17, 1842. Still functioning, the society is one of the oldest such 
organizations in existence. The bronze tablet, bearing a bas-relief of the 
building in which the society was begun, was erected by the Utah Church. 

6. The SITE OF JOSEPH SMITH'S STORE, adjoining the marker, is 
clearly indicated by the cellar and foundation stones. Smith found time 
to conduct a general store while discharging his duties as head of his 
church and mayor of his town. His commercial venture was not a success, 
largely because of the liberal credit he granted to the poor. 

7. The WILLIAM MARKS HOUSE (private) is a two-story red brick, 
well preserved, with an archaic little lantern over the doorway. Marks 
was president of the Nauvoo Stake of Zion. 

8. The SITE OF THE HYRUM SMITH HOUSE now has only a few 
stones to mark its foundation. Hyrum Smith, with his brother and Sidney 
Rigdon, composed the First Presidency of the Church. Functioning later 
as Patriarch, he wielded an influence second only to that of the Prophet. 

marked by the cellar excavation and the foundation stones. Here, until 
1845, was published the Mormon newspaper, a bi-weekly that printed the 
Prophet's revelations, the proclamations of the Mormon leaders, and, in 



Chicago Daily Neu-s Photo— By Clyde 

keeping with the customs of the times, long accounts of hurricanes, fires 
and other disasters from all over the globe. 

10. The ORSON PRATT HOUSE (unoccupied) is a two-story brick with 
a keystone arch over the door. Orson Pratt, one of the original Twelve 
Apostles, was well versed in mathematics, astronomy, and Hebrew, and 
became Church Historian at Utah in 1874. With Erastus Snow he was 
the first of the Mormon party to enter Salt Lake Valley, July 24, 1847. 

11. The SIDNEY RIGDON HOUSE (private), a story-and-a-half frame, 
is owned by the Reorganized Church. The building served as the first 
post-office in Nauvoo. Rigdon, with Alexander Campbell, had founded a 
congregation in Pennsylvania that later grew into the Disciples of Christ, 
or Campbellites. He subsequently became one of the first converts to 
Mormonism, and until his expulsion from the Church at Nauvoo, was one 
of the most influential leaders. His ambition frequently dismayed Joseph 
Smith; shortly after joining the church, he, too, began to receive revela- 
tions, and desisted only after the Prophet had notified him that the Lord 
expressly disapproved of this activity. 

12. The FIRST HOTEL IN NAUVOO, a part of which comprises a two- 
story frame across from the Rigdon House, is now a private dwelling. 
Before the construction of the Mansion House, its modest quarters were 


frequently strained to their limits by the constant influx of immigrants, 
politicians, journalists, and the merely curious. 

covered by a cornfield, and nothing remains to mark the place where the 
building once stood. 

14. The SITE OF THE SEVENTIES HALL is indistinguishable, save 
for a few crumbled stones, from the farmer's field that it occupies. The 
Seventies were a quorum of seventy elders, each of whom devoted his 
time to missionary work. 

15. The BRIGHAM YOUNG HOUSE (private), a two-story red brick in 
good repair, is flanked by two great maple trees. Young, a Vermonter, 
became one of the Twelve Apostles in 1835 and was one of Joseph Smith's 
closest associates. After the Mormon trek to Utah he became territorial 
governor, and, although he lost that position when the Federal government 
began to war on polygamy, he exercised great authority over the Utah 
Church until his death in 1877. A glazer and painter in his youth, he 
developed, in Utah, organizational and administrative ability that is 
credited as the chief force in establishing a permanent and prosperous 
community at that place. 

brick, is now unoccupied. 

17. The ALMON BABBITT HOUSE, boarded up and half-covered with 
vines, is a two-story brick that has weathered to a slate-grey. Once it was 
one of the most pretentious of the Mormon houses, rivaling that of Brig- 
ham Young. Babbitt served as a Trustee for the Church after the expulsion 
of the Mormons from Nauvoo, and stayed here for a while, liquidating 
the Mormons' holdings. Later he was influential in gaining the admission 
of Utah into the Union. 

18. The JOHN TAYLOR HOUSE, a short distance north, is now but a 
crumbled shell, its roof long caved in, its walls covered with vines. Taylor, 
one of the two Mormons with the Prophet and his brother at Carthage 
jail, was editor of the Times and Seasons at Nauvoo. He succeeded Brig- 
ham Young as president of the LItah Church. 

19. The JONATHAN BROWNING HOUSE (unoccupied), a two-story 
red brick, was the home of the father of John M. Browning, inventor of the 
Browning rapid fire gun. 


DAY SAINTS is a neat red brick that was built as a school-house. The 
Reorganized branch, which numbers more than 100,000 members and 
maintains headquarters at Independence, Mo., is presided over by Fred- 
erick M. Smith, grandson of the Prophet. 

21. The MASONIC HALL (private), a bright red brick with white win- 
dow trim, was formerly a three-story structure, but the top story was 
removed in remodeling. The Nauvoo Lodge, of which Joseph Smith was 
a member, was the largest in the State at the time of Mormon occupancy 
of Nauvoo. 

22. The ORSON HYDE HOUSE (private), a story-and-a-half frame that 
faces one of Nauvoo's many vineyards, was the home of another of the 
Twelve Apostles. Hyde, who helped with the initial missionary work in 
England, was later active in establishing colonies in Utah and California. 

23. The LUCY MACK SMITH HOUSE (private), a small brick structure 
with a frame addition, was the home of the Prophet's mother. 

24. The ERASTUS SNOW HOUSE (private), is a two-story, red brick 
that is well preserved. The doorways of its double entrance are bordered 
by interesting, old-fashioned leaded windows. It is believed that Lorenzo 
Snow occupied one half of the house. Lorenzo Snow, one of the Twelve 
at Nauvoo, subsequently founded Brigham City, Utah, and became, in 
1898, the fifth President of the Utah Church. 

The JOHN SMITH HOUSE (private), a two-story, stucco dwelling 


profusely covered with vines, has been extensively remo 



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go Daily Newt Photo — By Clyde Brown 


Here lived Joseph Smith's uncle, who later was to become Presiding Patri- 
arch of the Church at Utah. 

26. The LORIN FARR HOUSE (private), a two-story brick that has been 
painted grey, now serves as a tourist home. Farr was influential in the 
establishment of Ogden, Utah, and became its first mayor. At Nauvoo 
he served as a teacher, and taught the children of Joseph Smith, Brigham 
Young, John Taylor, and many other Mormon leaders. 

27. The HEBER C. KIMBALL HOUSE (private) is a two-story brick 
topped by a look-out platform of the type common in river towns. Inset 
in the front of the house is a stone bearing the inscription "H. C. K. 1845." 
Heber Kimball was one of the Twelve Apostles at Nauvoo and subse- 
quently became Counsellor to Brigham Young, and Lieutenant-Governor 
of Deseret, as Utah was known before its organization as a territory. 

23. The WILFORD WOODRUFF HOUSE (private), picturesquely cov- 
ered with vines, is a well-kept two-story brick structure. At either end 
are large double chimneys. One of the early Twelve Apostles, Woodruff 
succeeded John Taylor as President of the Utah Church. On September 
25, 1890, he issued the famous proclamation calling upon the Saints to 
submit to the laws of the United States and abandon the practice of poly- 
gamy. His request was approved by the Church in general conference 
eleven days later, officially ending the practice. 



29. ST. EDMUND HALL (visitors welcome), which overlooks the Flat 
from the very crest of the Hill, is a Catholic boarding school for boys. 
Students of the ages from 5 to 14 are admitted, and education is super- 
vised by the Sisters of St. Benedict. Established in 1926, the Hall enrolls 
an average of 40 students yearly. 

30. ST. MARY'S ACADEMY (visitors welcome), also at the crest of the 
Hill, is a Roman Catholic boarding school for girls. At the rear of the 
main building is a small stone building that once served as the Mormon 
arsenal. The parade and drill grounds, adjoining, are now covered with 

31. The SITE OF NAUVOO TEMPLE has nothing left to mark the im- 
posing structure that once reared here and dominated the whole of the 
Mormon city. At the end of the present business district, the Temple 
block became the location of numerous buildings, including six erected 
by the Icarians, after the Mormons left here. The style of the Temple was 

a mixture of Romanesque, Egyptian, and Greek; 83 by 128 feet, it was 
adorned with 30 hewn pilasters that cost $3,000 each. The base-stone of 
each pilaster was decorated with a representation of a quarter-moon, the 
cap-stone with a sun surrounded by rays, and above that, a representation 
of a star. Topping the entire structure was a gilded statue of Moroni, the 
angel that, according to the Prophet, appeared to him in a vision and 
told him about the plates bearing the Book of Mormon. In the basement 
of the Temple was a great baptismal fount, supported by 12 oxen. Bap- 
tism, in the Mormon dogma, was identified with resurrection; hence the 
peculiar location of the fount, in the basement "below the living." 


32. The PAROCHIAL SCHOOL, on the southwest corner of the Temple 
lot, was built of Temple stone by the Icarians, who used it as the common 
school. It is now owned by the Catholic Church. 

33. The TWO ICARIAN APARTMENT HOUSES (private), on the south- 
east corner of the Temple lot, are two-story, frame structures, grey and 
weather-beaten. Originally there were four of them along Mulholland 
Street. Occupying a ground floor room of the corner house is Miss Rose 
Nicaise, last of the first-generation descendants of the Icarians. She 
dwells in the same room to which her parents were assigned by Cabet. 
On the doors are painted the numerals that originally marked the room. 
Ingenious locks, manufactured by Miss Nicaise's father at Cabet's direc- 
tions, are on each of the doors in the building. Miss Nicaise speaks 
French. Born after the Icarian colony had failed, she recalls nothing of 
the experiment save that it removed her father from France and thereby 

broke his heart. Several years ago, Miss Nicaise lost the copy of Voyage 
en Icarie over which her father would sometimes meditate. He held no 
malice for Cabet, Miss Nicaise relates, and his faith in Cabet's funda- 
mental principles was lifelong. 

34. The ICARIAN MEETING HALL formerly stood at the northeast 
corner of the Temple block, and functioned as the town opera house. In 
1938 it was destroyed by fire. 

35. The ORIENTAL HOTEL (small fee for inspection of relics) is 
Nauvoo's only hotel. Jamming its lobby, its corridors, its rooms, and 
overflowing to a barn in the rear is an astounding collection of Mormon 
and Icarian relics, and 19th century antiques. Currier and Ives prints and 
Seth Thomas clocks hang on the walls. Among the deeds, manuscripts, 
and books are copies of the Expositor, letters of Joseph Smith, and a 


bound volume of Times and Seasons. The rooms are furnished with an- 
tiques; canopy beds, rope-net beds with trundles, complete sets in cedar, 
walnut, and cherry, many of which antedate the Icarian years. There is 
one room furnished with Joseph Smith's furniture. In the yard stands 
one of the base-stones of the Temple, the finest specimen in exist- 

36. The JOSEPH AGNEW HOUSE (private), a one-story brick with a 
frame addition, was the residence, according to local legend, of the young 
boy who fired the Mormon Temple. 

37. The WINE CELLAR (obtain permission at adjoining house) is typ- 
ical of the many wine cellars in Nauvoo. Although the Icarians made 
wine here, most of the cellars were built after they had left. Staunchly 
constructed, they are invariably in excellent condition, with sound walls 
and true arches. Forty of these cellars were built in Nauvoo. 

38. The AMERICAN LEGION HALL, a small, rectangular building, was 
built entirely of Temple stone. 


Chicago Daily \etct Pholo—By Clyde 








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